Sikh group, Valmiki followers clash over ‘derogatory’ words
Tension gripped the area after a clash between Satkar committee and Valmiki community, as two sides pelted each other with stones for over 25 minutes on Tuesday morning , leading to injuries to a dozen in the clash.punjab Updated: Oct 18, 2016 21:03 IST
Members of the Sikh group Satkar Committee and the Valmiki community clashed at Dalla village near here on Tuesday over the alleged use of derogatory words against saint Valmiki by a gurdwara preacher. At least seven men suffered minor injuries, and the police registered cases against both sides after cross-allegations.
It started after preacher Manpreet Singh at the local Baoli Sahib gurdwara made some comments against Valmiki, whom his followers consider god. A group of the community members reached the gurdwara where heated arguments started, and then they allegedly vandalised a vehicle and hurled stones at the gurdwara men. The clash occurred after over 20 men of the Satkar Committee and the security task force of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) reached there with sticks.
Stones were hurled by both sides for around half an hour. About seven persons sustained minor injuries, said deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Piara Singh. Some gunshots were also allegedly fired in the air by the SGPC men.
Kapurthala deputy commissioner (DC) Jaskiran Singh and senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rajinder Singh led a security team to the spot and tried to pacify both groups.
The SSP said that, on basis of preliminary investigation, a case was registered against preacher Manpreet Singh under section 295A (for deliberate act intended to outrage religious feelings of any class) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The DC said, “After the situation turns normal, a magisterial inquiry will be marked.”
Heavy police force remained deployed and the situation remained tense till filing this report around 9pm.
Those booked in cases include the Satkar Committee head, Sukhjeet Singh Khosa, and seven others for offences under the IPC and also under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act as Valmikis are under the Scheduled Castes. A case against 15 unidentified Valmiki community supporters was also registered.
Police failed to pre-empt
Even as tension brewed in the morning after the alleged inappropriate utterances by the preacher, only a small group of police personnel reached the gurdwara. DSP Piara Singh also reached the spot and held a brief meeting with the Valmiki community members, assuring them of action. But later, demanding immediate arrest of the preacher and the gurdwara management panel head, the Valmikis sat outside the gurdwara and held protest. As for the Satkar Committee, such panels are known to be active in protests against installation of Guru Granth Sahib at places other than gurdwaras that they deem fit as per Sikhism. In a separate case on Sunday, police in nearby Bholath had booked a gurdwara head for using certain words against Valmiki.